Community heartbroken over Port Charlotte teen killed

Reporter: Erika Jackson
Published: Updated:
Charlotte County death investigation scene (WINK News)

Investigators are taking their search to new heights, flying a chopper over the neighborhood, using metal detectors and searching rooftops a few blocks away from Starlite Lane hoping to find the missing pieces of this complicated puzzle.

“I never thought I would be in the middle of a death investigation; at least my house,” said neighbor Alexa Andrews.

She didn’t know why a bleeding man ran up to her driveway on Starlite Lane Thursday afternoon.

“He had a really big knife and he just came up and said, ‘I got cut,’ like, kind of casually, but out of breath,” she said.

Deputies have identified that man as 27-year-old Ryan Cole.

Ryan Clayton Cole, 27. Credit: Lee County Sheriff’s Office.

Neighbors say they saw him bleeding, running on Starlite Lane, crossing a canal toward Conway Boulevard and entering a nearby home, leaving blood splatters on a chair outside.

“While they were going through the neighborhood, this lead us to another residence,” said Charlotte County Sheriff Bill Prummell.

Deputies believe he started bleeding while inside of a burglarized home on Starlite, with two kids inside—one teen found dead, and a child, unharmed.

“It appears that the suspect had broken into this residence, a violent encounter ensued where we believe that the teenager was trying to protect the home and protect their younger sibling,” said Prummell.

Now, a family is without their child and a community is broken.

“I don’t know how to process this all, but I can only imagine what the family is going through,” said Andrews.

Some of the neighbors who live on and around Starlite say this is a safe neighborhood and would never expect to see a crime scene there.

One family we spoke to says enough is enough and this death investigation is enough to get them to move out of the area for good.


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